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Your Business

News/Business. A focus on issues facing small business in the United States.

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Us 9, Tulsa 5, Magnolia Park 4, America 3, New Jersey 3, Jonah 3, Burbank 3, California 3, Amanda 2, Christine Osborn 2, Jennifer 2, Sba 2, Karen 2, South Carolina 2, Shannon 1, Rick Diaz 1, J.j. Ramberg 1, Amanda Vernon 1, Kathleen Bailey 1, Jaymee Hailey 1,
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  MSNBC    Your Business    News/Business. A focus on issues  
   facing small business in the United States.  

    November 24, 2012
    2:30 - 3:00am PST  

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the holiday buying season is underway. it is time to shop small. we will show you how companies in california, south carolina and here in hard-hit new jersey are getting customers to shop local. and we'll give you tips so that you can take full advantage of small business saturday on november 24th. it's time to make money. coming up next on "your business." small businesses are
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revitalizing the economy. american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc. hi, there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg. welcome to a very special edition of "your business." it comes in between black friday and cybermonday. this year, small business saturday is november 24th. it is a day people are urged to shop local and is support their communities. we are coming from maplewood, new jersey. a storm-battered state where small businesses need customers more than ever. across the country in burbank, california, the shop local movement has taken off in a big way. in the magnolia park section of that city, local retailers have banded together to revitalize not only sales but also their
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neighborhood. it is the last friday of the month in the magnolia park section of burbank, california. normally, the stores would be closing and streets would be quiet but the creative small business owners here have figured out a low cost way of bringing in customers with a huge return. they call it ladies night out where people are coming out in droves to celebrate and support these unique companies. >> i really like all of the small shops and things. i like to help the mom and pop type businesses and stuff. it makes me feel like i'm a part of the community. >> magnolia park wasn't always like this. a couple years ago, the area known as antique alley, for its vintage antique and retail stores was a ghost town. >> the economy was horrible. there were no jocks obs out the.
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>> that's when sue can cade and kathleen bailey came up with the simple idea of staying open one friday a month to have a little party for their customers. cathy said, what do we do to get more women in? i went, friday night, girl's night, let's make it a party, have complimentary wine and offer a discount. >> we have these big four red dice that light up. when they come in, they have to roll for their discount. it is so funny. they bounce and it is hilarious. >> we have about 30, 40 people come in that first night. we knew we were on to something. >> the idea started to take off when amanda vernon of mindfulness and jennifer hard away of queens spa decided they wanted to participate in ladies night too. >> there really were no goals other than to create a night where people would come to the neighborhood and see how great it is and how many great stores there are here.
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>> jennifer, amanda and the other retailers started working together on new idea to attract more customers on ladies night. one of the best, inviting l.a.'s trendy food trucks to be part of the evening's festivities. >> adding food trucks to any event, people love food. you cannot get away from that. they like trying different things. you can go to three or four of them in one night if you dare. >> with legions of food truck devotees following the whereabouts of their favorite truck with social media, many more are discovering magnolia park on ladies night every month. >> they use facebook and twitter to post where they are going to be. so they have a built-in audience already for them. it is sort of, i think it is a win/win, because we've got new customers coming to an area that maybe they have never been in and they discover it and they are, oh, my gosh, this is so cute and it is really beneficial. >> two years after starting ladies night, roux he tailers in
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magnolia park now have a very positive outlook and very healthy sales. >> that night is an important night for us. it comes at the end of the month. it is such a nice boost and we always say, if we make our rent that night, we are so pleased. we do. >> the success of ladies night is also attracting new businesses like shannon's wine bar which has been doing free tasting. her new retail storefront is opening soon. >> to be able to come in and open my business, if i didn't have the support of the community, it wouldn't happen. i have been on the street and hear people saying did you no he there is a wine bar coming to magnolia park. >> that feeling of community was never stronger than last year between small business saturday, the day between black friday and cybermonday reserved to support your local small businesses. >> this sounds cheesy but i cried a little. i really did. the store was full of people and
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they picked us as their small business to spend their money. >> instead of once a year, the feeling amanda had during small business saturday happens once a month at magnolia park. >> i feel that an event like ladies' night out has really changed the area and affected its residents. community is so important. knowing my customers' names and them coming in and seeing their kids, that's what it really is about. >> this super successful local community event is attracting everyone now, not just ladies, who want something fun to do in this otherwise quiet community. >> after a hard day's work, this is perfect with the economy the way it is. if you can help out a small business stay alive and keep thriving, it is going to help us all in the long run. >> rick diaz who has lived in burbank for 25 years is amazed by the transformation. >> to tell you the truth, this place has turned around quite a bit. it was very gloomy and it's turned into a very popular
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place. if you look around, goodness, you see so many people around here. it is great. >> shopping small has become a way of life in south carolina where local small business owners have discovered there is strength in numbers. they are spending time educating visitors, friends and each other about the importance of supporting low country small business. >> when you focus on just your business, it doesn't work. when you are a local business owner, you are part of the community. >> christine osborn, the owner of the toy store, wonder works, says running a small business is more about cooperation than ever before. >> it is truly about not competition. it is about come rodry. >> marianne na hey, the third generation of the jewel box agrees. she says when the economy was down, they turned to each other.
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>> we need something. >> the result was charleston south carolina's own buy local movement. it is called low country, local first. >> i often tell people we are about preserving a people and a place. i think it gave a collective voice to the local businesses here in this community. >> executive director, jamie haley, says thinking small was something a lot of people talked about in 2007. >> there was nobody advocating for them or educating the community on why it was important. >> while trying to get started wasn't easy. >> nobody was working together to try to get that message out. so we just did a whole lot of knocking on people's doors and saying, hey, will you meet with me? i would love to talk to you about this. >> since then, low country local first has grown to 500 members. each with a vested interest in getting residents and visitors to shop local. >> it's so grassroots that other people were telling their colleagues about it. it just sort of snowballed.
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>> in order to best support local outlets, members have to meet certain criteria. >> you need to be locally owned and independent. you have to have at least 50% of your ownership living here in the low country. you have to be head quartered here. you have to be able to make all of your own marketing, advertising decisions, et cetera. we want to see you are able to spend those dollars, your dollars, back in this community. >> once accepted, those members can start telling people about it. >> look for that buy local decal in the window. >> low country local first backs a handful of initials. the biggest one is buy local month. it runs from november 15th to december 15gth. it was just a week long. >> the main idea, we are trying to get people to make conscious decisions about where they are spending their dollars. that's what our retailers say they needed. a week is great. we needed a longer campaign so it has a bigger impact. >> christine says that the
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ripple effect from buying local is staggering, especially when it is locally made products flying off the shelves. >> for every dollar you spend in a local business, three is made for the community. i never knew that. if i buy from a local vendor or a local person and put that item in my local store, every dollar makes six. >> to ensure the success of local events, low country promotes all of its members. >> the network that supports each other is really important. >> allison merrick's new kraft business got a boost from plenty of likes and tweets. >> i really got to see people coming in my brand new business that had been open two weeks. all of the sudden, my e-mail news letter burst to the people that liked my business on facebook. >> they find plenty of support off-line. >> i can call people and get what their best practices are. who do they use for their accounting? what do they do about their
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credit card bills? where can we do better? >> even a walk down charleston's kings street, members are offering advice. >> it is part of my life. i am on the phone with somebody and i am asking them a question. they are my partners. >> this type of cooperation in the low country is here to stay. for many members, it is a way of doing business. now, they wouldn't do it any other way. >> if somebody said christine osborn from german parents would be listening and embracing this new way of doing things, back then, i would have said no. i know how to run my business. i have been doing it successfully for 18 years. i can keep doing it. but jaymee hailey came in and opened my eyes and i am forever grateful that i did. >> we have gone past the point of competition and we are into collaboration now. people understand the value of it. from the palmetto state to the sooner state, there are
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plenty of reasons why holiday shopper's attention and their wallets should be shifted away from big chain stores and towards mom and pop shops in their area. joining me now is the mayor of tulsa, oklahoma, mayor dewey bartlett. what is tulsa doing to get ready for small business saturday? >> what we're doing is having a lot of local promotions, from our claim ber as well as from our city government. what we are trying to do is very specifically. in our downtown area, we are opening up buildings that have specialized shops inside the building in larger areas where they have an opportunity, because of one bit of advertising that brings people in the door. they can see a variety of shops in one building. it's sort of like having a mall in the downtown area. >> mayor, for a lot of people that want to support small business but they want to do one-stop shopping at a big box store, it is a little bit cheaper at a big box store.
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as the mayor of a city, why is it so important that people support small business? >> well, for our city, we really live and die off of sales tax revenue. that's for about 80% of our revenue comes from sales tax receipts. small business is the life blood of a community. there is so much of it around. if we promote small business, it brings local people, supports local people. we are not quite as tied to decisions that might be made outside of our community with the big box stores. locally, tulsa, our economy is doing very, very well. the rest of the country, unfortunately, is not doing that hot. we might have a different buying pattern and a more affordable buying pattern than other cities in our country. decisions that are made locally usually are in our best interest. >> are you and other city officials getting behind this? are you going to be out there on saturday buying stuff at stores? >> absolutely.
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we have to lead by example. our city council is very supportive. we in administration, in our city government, our city council, are very united in this effort. we realize we are one tulsa. one, northeastern oklahoma. we are one group of communities and collectively, we are a lot more strong in how we can approach economic development opportunities. so haven't more friends in that regard was a better opportunity for us. >> congratulations on all the work you are doing to prepare for this. i wish you and all of the small businesses in tulsa the best of luck on saturday. great to see you. >> thank you very much. appreciate your help. >> if you want to take the most advantage of small business saturday, listen up. here now are five resources you can use to help your company grow on november 24th. one, signage. posted printouts are a great way to get the word out. you can get two pieces of signage professionally printed
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for free at a fedex office. two, official banners and logos. use the digital material to promote small business saturday on your blog, website or anywhere else. three, social media and e-mail templates take the guess work out of promoting your business using the free loaded post, blog examples, tweets and e-mails. four, geotargeted online advertising. go on shop small.com to register your business for a free personalized online ad. number five, success stories. get tips from other small businesses who participated last year that you can use to grow your sales on small business saturday. when we come back, karen mills, the head of the sba, talks to us about what her agency is doing to get people to shop small. we will also talk to some store owners here in haplewood, new jersey, to find out how they are working to get people to buy local. we'll introduce you to some of the very special employees that
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word here at the words bookstore. ♪ ♪ you can't judge a book by looking at the cover ♪ you won't find a "home rule" on every corner, a "stag provisions" down every block, or a "hugh and crye" in every town. these are the small businesses of america, and all across the nation they're getting ready for their day. hundreds of thousands of small businesses are preparing for november 24, a day to open doors, and welcome the millions of customers who will turn out to shop small. small business saturday. visit shopsmall.com and get ready. because your day is coming. when it comes to marketing your local business, think about a five-mile radius. this comes from linda duke from duke marketing who says there
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are a few things you can think about to create a community-based strategy. first, empower your employees to become ambassadors. give them samples to distribute to their friends. create community based partnerships. are you trying to reach families. support the local girl scouts. finally, concentrate on local p.r. pak frien make friends with your local newspaper editors and send them story ideas. tip number 140, the five-mile rule. today, we come to you from maplewood new jersey at a local independent bookstore called words. when jonah and ellen bought this struggling bookstore a few years ago, they changed the mission making it a haven for young people with autism. it thrives as a bookstore and a place that teaches these kids the skills they need to transition from being students to part of the workforce.
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in the quiet new york city suburb of maplewood, new jersey, another independent bookstore almost disappeared. that was until jonah and ellen zimely came to the rescue. they knew nothing about the book business. >> when jonah came, he didn't have a bookstore background. he was depending on us to be able to help him out with that. >> with the change in ownership came a change in management style. the former bookstore owner was hands on doing most of the work of her store herself. a recent graduate of business school, jonah was interested in the idea of job crafting to better utilize the talent of his staff. >> it's -- that can't always work 100%. sometimes you have to buckle down and do something we're not good at or don't like. as much as possible, it's in everyone's interest if they do
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what they are good at and what they like to do. >> he worked with each of them to determine their likes and dislikes and did his best to play to their strengths. >> she does the ordering. it's her specialty. i do the scheduling, the tech stuff, things like that. i have more responsibilities now than i did before. >> with the day-to-day operations being run by the staff, the zimiles has a chance to try something else near and dear to their hearts. if their son diagnosed with autism, they wanted to expand the mission of the store to be a welcoming environment to people with special needs. >> it is on a spectrum. there is an understanding here. it is very comforting for me. i feel at home when i come here. i don't feel awkward if he should freak out or have an episode or just start screaming or whatever he may do, i don't think anybody here is going to care.
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>> they created a vocational training program where kids with special needs could develop skills to use in everyday life. >> the hardest thing for applying for a job is not having any experience, particularly for people with special needs. for all of us, apply for jobs. my thought was to provide a first job or experience on a resume so that people could leave us with real-life job experience and a recommendation for another job. >> i learned about teamwork and cooperation. i learned about organization. i learned a lot of skills here. >> he's not going to be protected for the rest of his life, he can't be. he's not going to be able to function that way, nor do i want him to. having this as a stepping stone or initiation to the real world is wonderful and invaluable to
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him and me as a parent. >> thanks so much for coming, really appreciate it. >> the approach has revitalized the bookstore and made all the staffers more engaged and fulfilled in their jobs. >> i'm a lot more vested now so when i go home, i think, oh, geez, i forgot to do this. first thing in the morning, i have to come back and do that. >> it's worked well to be empowered to make decisions and help run the place. they have been here since the very beginning, have a real ownership interest in the store. they really take pride in this place. this is their place. they started it. >> it's also given people with autism a chance at a better life. >> hiring someone with special needs is a good business idea. sometimes they will do jobs that it is hard to get a college graduate to stick with. they are very good workers. they show up, all weather, any time of day. they are on time. they're's a role that you have that would work for them. it is a win/win for everybody.
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>> see ya, jonah. >> so how are retailers gearing up for small business saturday? we spoke to some store owners here to ask them what they are doing to bring in more customers on november 24th. >> we are going to have extended holiday hours so that people who are getting off the train later and stuff like that have time to do all their holiday shopping. on that day, we are going to have refreshments and a discount lottery. people will be able to come up to the register and pick out of a bowl and they either get 10% off or 20% off, up to 40% off. >> i'm going to do a special promotion. i'm going to do 10% off everything in the store. i do a blog for the store. i'll feature special items i have in for the holidays. then i offer cookies and, you know, a special drink or something. some kind of treat. >> social media has been the biggest thing for us as far as
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getting the word out there and educating people. instagram has been really great for us. i'm able to post pictures and i think people really connect to more if they see a picture of product and then a caption saying, oh, you can get this for 20% off on small business saturday. >> i send out e-mail blasts to my current customer base, facebook marketing and twitter. >> i'll get the word out that way. >> we have very loyal customers who our town really support it's small businesses. we have all independent businesses in downtown maplewood. obviously, with all the publicity around black friday, people tend to be distracted and go to the mall and don't sit down. it is great to redirect people back to town centers. >> in years prior, those couple of days after thanksgiving were not very busy days for small businesses. everybody was out at the malls or shopping online or whenever. it has definitely helped to
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increase business and put the emphasis back on keeping it local. washington is solidly behind small business saturday and the shop local movement. i spoke to karen mills the head of the sba to ask what the agency is doing to help owners get the word out. >> well, i'm going to be shopping small on saturday. we are trying to encourage all of america to go down to main street and to take advantage of the terrific small businesses that are right there in your community. it's a win/win. you know, half of the people who work in this country own or work for a small business. many are right there as part of our important communities. we are able, on small business year, to go and get the most wonderful food and restaurants and a personalized experience, maybe a unique gift from small business owners who are
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operating their own business right nearby. >> how can a small business take advantage of this so it's not just saturday that they are seeing an increase in customers but it happens all yearlong. >> this is a win/win. for small businesses, this is a chance for more revenue. small businesses should come to sba.gov and make a plan for small business saelt. saturday. many are doing ribbon cuttings and special promotions. they are having guests and making a celebraing environment. >> what will they find to help them plan for small business saturday? >> we always tell small businesses, if you don't have a counselor or an adviser or a mentor, you should. when you come to sba.gov and put in your zip code, you will find the names and numbers of resources nearby.
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the best news is you can get a mentor or counselor for free. that counselor and adviser will know your business, help you develop a plan for small business saturday and generating local business throughout the year. >> what can small business owners do to encourage people to say no, why don't you come to my store and shop instead of the big box store and getting everything all at once? >> when you go to a small business, you are getting the attention of often the owner himself or herself and, for a customer, this means you can get a unique gift, a personalized experience and get it beautifully wrapped. shopping small is not only a pleasant experience when you have that one-to-one relationship, but you can very often get unique and very good priced gifts for the holiday season. >> one final question, any shoutout for a small business you are going to be shopping at on small business saturday? >> i have a great main street in
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brunswick, maine. gelato fiasco is one of our small business. i never miss the opportunity to have a good gelato. >> thank you for coming on the program. we appreciate it. >> thank you. we have heard a lot of great advice about how to improve your business on today's show. now, let's get more idea from small business owners like you. >> my great idea is that consumers have a plethora of choices. to differentiate yourself and separate yourself from competition, you can certify your business as woman or minority business. it's a fantastic marketing opportunity. >> make yourself memorable. it could be in your company name, the way you dress, the way you speak, the way you conduct yourself in the business. there are many ways. make yourself memorable. if you make yourself memorable and people like you and you are
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doing everything else correctly, people will think of you when they need your services. >> body language of people you are negotiating because people may say things that they don't intend for you to truly understand but their body language will never lie. observe their eyes to get more insight into what they are truly saying to you. >> are you looking for funding for your small business? financing may be closer than you think if you check out our website of the week. smallknot.com let's people invest in your business. each campaign has a funding goal with a set ending. to get the capital, a local business must hit the goal before the campaign expires. to learn more about today's show, click on our website, it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow.
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you can follow us on twitter, @msnbcyourbiz. is don't forget to become a fan of your show. we love getting your feedback. next week, a gluten free bakery does all it can to hide that its products are gluten free. >> even though it's more and more prevalent, there's a stigma to it. i wanted the local traffic and didn't want to scare them away. >> marketing to the niche without turning off the masses. >> remember, we make your business our business. you won't find a "home rule" on every corner, a "stag provisions" down every block, or a "hugh and crye" in every town. these are the small businesses of america, and all across the nation they're getting ready for their day. hundreds of thousands of small businesses